Images and text courtesy of guest contributor Cmdr Donald Duck.
What started as an initiative by the Colonia Citizens Network (CCN) to attract settlers to humanity’s new colony some 22kly from Sol is about to become one of the largest independent movements of our time. Rarely since the separation of the Empire from the Federation or the foundation of the Alliance has our civilization seen so many independent Commanders gathering for one cause.
Throughout inhabited space, space pilots are nervously preparing for this journey to more-or-less undiscovered lands. At the core of this huge jump for mankind are around 400 Commanders from across the Bubble, keen to take on the 30-day trip commencing December 2nd. It’s an operation that is not only unique for our times, but has also recently attracted the attention of renowned scientists at Mars Institute of Technology (MIT).
As a Commander, one can hardly avoid the chatter and gossip at virtually any space port – particularly in the bars. Discussions about sport results, commodity prices, juicy bounties or warnings like “beware, Cmdr Dave is doing his Saturday afternoon ramming show at Jameson Memorial”. Lately, however, Commanders might wonder why most of the conversations they overhear concern three topics only:
“How far can you jump?”
“What are you going to carry?”
And: “what modules will you equip?”
Not that these are unusual topics, but as most Commanders keep their real intentions and outfitting a secret, this fresh willingness to co-operate seems just one positive result of the Christmas Carriers Convoy (CCC) initiative.
Starting as a call for help to support the new colonies with commodities and personnel, CCC has sparked a movement the likes of which has not been seen for years. Commanders from all corners of human space have signed on, be it as Carriers to fly haul as much goods as possible, as Militia Escorts to provide security to the weakly-armed transport vessels, or as freelancers, trying to secure their piece of cake out there.
“Everyone with good intentions is welcome,”, said organiser Qohen Leth from CCN. “But everyone should be aware that it is not a weekend trip. It will be one of the largest convoys for years, but even with space travel as common as it is today, organizing some four hundred ships and bringing them out there safely is not an easy task.”
Nevertheless, it is not only the adventure that gives the project its unique nature. Some pilots are simply running from something – be it prosecution, a dark past or the current political situation in mankind’s sphere. Many simply wish to leave old lives behind and start a new, independent life away from the old order.
Back at Sol, the Gazette had the chance to talk over telepresence with a leading scientist from MIT about the initiative. Dr Elisabeth de Mournier, from the Human Science Faculty, pointed out the huge cultural and sociological aspects of a trek like the CCC.
“Firstly, out there your cultural background doesn’t matter. If you crash on an 8G moon you could not care less if the pilot saving you had been an infamous slave smuggler just weeks before, even if it opposes your deepest beliefs. That is what binds the participants of such a journey together. Just think about the 46kly rescue last week,” Dr de Mournier explains.
Collaboration for logistics and outfitting for the transport vessels is welcome, no matter where it comes from. Extra training for those who have just joined the Militia Escort have been scheduled for the final days before departure. Some military groups, such as the 9th Legion, GalCop and the Earth Defense Fleet, have already announced their support. Though most of the preparations are being made in secret it has become one of the most-discussed issues in ports throughout the galaxy. Security is high on the list of concerns.
“It is very important to have our own security force,” a source at Colonia Hub, CCN’s headquarters, said earlier this week.
“We do not know if the convoy will attract pirates or other lowlifes, but we have to take it as a probability. Especially upon departure, close to home space and at all scheduled stops on our journey to Colonia.”
It is up to the private efforts of Commanders and organizations associated with the journey to prepare. Their efforts can be seen around inhabited space, as they produce economic booms at several systems, so great are the numbers of Commanders trying to outfit their vessels to meet the logistical challenge.
The Pilots’ Federation itself reports an increase of cargo ship and auto field maintenance unit sales of over 180% at Jameson Memorial. A shortage of Imperial Cutters has been rumoured, following a sharp spike in the numbers of well-heeled Commanders placing orders for the giant vessels. Elsewhere, Felicity Farseer, the renowned engineer from Deciat, has ordered extra shifts for her staff to cope with the demand for frame shift drive tunings.
These increases, including extra revenues produced by those who do not have access to exclusive ports like Shinrarta Dezhra, coupled with all the time and money being put into trips to gain more materials and data for module tuning or synthesis, makes it apparent that CCC is making significant economic impact.
Asked about her personal thoughts on the expedition, Dr de Mournier had this to say:
“If you look at the small percentage of humans that actually travel space, and compare them with the huge number of settled population across the Bubble, those Commanders approaching new frontiers must be considered heroes. It would be disastrous for us personally, as human beings and scientists, not to accompany and support an effort like that.”
The Christmas Carriers Convoy departs the Bubble on December 2nd. More information and the sign-up can be found here.